Ivy Bridge-E: Intel Core i7-4960X Processor Review
With this high end system in our hands I know that one of the questions we get from readers quite often is how does a new CPU affect gaming? In order to test that we took our CPU test bed used in the previous benchmarks and swapped out the single Radeon HD 7970 for a set of three of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX TITANs. At $999 MSRP, the TITAN is the fastest single GPU graphics card on the market and running three of them in SLI gives us a total of 18GB of graphics memory (!!).
I was only able to test the new IVB-E Core i7-4960X against the SNB-E Core i7-3970X at this time as I realized too late that the two Z87 boards I had on hand did NOT support 3-Way SLI. More on that soon!
There are really two things to look for with our 3-Way SLI testing on IVB-E: higher frame rates or more consistent frame times. With Bioshock Infinite at 2560x1440 and the Ultra preset, the frame rate didn't change noticeably (both averaged basically at 160 FPS) though the frame time graph indicates slightly more consistent performance on Ivy Bridge-E.
In Crysis 3, at Very High presets with 4x MSAA enabled, the average frame rate remains unchanged but you can again see some more consistent frame times. If you look at the 95th percentile on the FPS by Percentile graph you should note that the IVB-E is hitting 51-52 FPS while the SNB-E hits 47-48 mark. Not a huge difference but it is something.
Metro Last Light shows very a slightly better frame rate throughout the back 50 percentiles for the IVB-E processor.
In Sleeping Dogs we see not only the same small improvement in frame time consistency but also a measurable (though small) gain in average frame rate: 105 FPS with the 4960X versus 99 FPS on the 3970X.
At the end of the day, while the new Core i7-4960X is better than the Core i7-3970X for high performance multi-GPU gaming in these tests, the difference is still rather small and you'd be hard pressed to find someone that could differentiate between them in a blind test.